Academic journal article Journal of Leisure Research

Exploring the Role of Time Perspective in Leisure Choices: What about the Balanced Time Perspective?

Academic journal article Journal of Leisure Research

Exploring the Role of Time Perspective in Leisure Choices: What about the Balanced Time Perspective?

Article excerpt


The concept of time orientation or time perspective (TP) is based on the idea that people place emphasis on the past, present or future (Bergadaà, 1990). The centrality of TP, which is used to explain general attitudes toward life and the reasons for human behaviour, has been recognised in psychology (Zimbardo & Boyd, 1999). TP is widely regarded as an important aspect of overall personality (Davies & Omer, 1996; Shores, 2005), and individuals' personalities play a key role in predicting why people choose to pursue leisure activities (Barnett, 2013). However, only a handful of studies have accounted for how individuals' TPs are related to their leisure choices. Shores and Scott (2007) showed that TP had a stronger influence on leisure benefits than did socio-demographic variables. Philipp (1992) concluded that people with a strong future orientation appeared to seek many specific leisure activities more frequently than those with a strong present or past orientation. It can thus be stated that there are signs that different TPs might influence people's leisure preferences (Cotte & Ratneshwar, 2003; Philipp, 1992; Shores, 2005; Shores & Scott, 2007). Furthermore, with the exception of some studies in the field of positive psychology, most research has focused on analysing biased TPs without studying a balanced time perspective (BTP). People with a BTP have the ability to shift from one TP to another. They are capable of operating in a temporal mode (past, present, and future) that is appropriate to the situation in which they find themselves (Zimbardo & Boyd, 1999). Thus, for example, in some situations people with a BTP can be oriented toward the present, while in others they can be oriented toward the past or future (Boniwell & Zimbardo, 2004). A BTP has been associated with higher subjective well-being (Boniwell, Osin, Linley, & Ivanchenko, 2010; Drake, Duncan, Sutherland, Abernethy, & Henry, 2008). However, no previous studies have investigated the differences in the leisure choices between BTP and non-BTP groups.

The purpose of this study is to explore the roles that five TPs (past-negative, past-positive, present-fatalistic, present-hedonistic, and future) and having a BTP play in the amount of free time available, leisure benefits sought and leisure activities. The five TPs were measured by using an adaptation of the Zimbardo Time Perspective Inventory (ZTPI; Zimbardo & Boyd, 1999). Like Barnett, leisure time and free time are considered to be interchangeable terms in the present study.

Literature review

Time perspective

The effective operationalization of TP requires an adequate conceptualisation of this construct. Different definitions of TP have been used in the literature (Díaz-Morales, 2006; Shores & Scott, 2007; Zimbardo & Boyd, 1999). The lack of a precise definition of TP has stimulated the development of multiple scales with a single temporal category or two different time frames, although most authors have provided a definition of TP consisting of three temporal categories (Table 1). For example, Lennings (1996) highlighted the cognitive, affective, and conative aspects of the construct and defined TP as "a cognitive operation that implies both an emotional reaction to imagined time zones (such as future, present, or past) and a preference for locating action in some temporal zone" (p. 72). As many definitions of TP have included three temporal categories (past, present, and future), we consider that an adequate measurement instrument for the assessment of TP should consider at least these three time frames. The ZTPI, which was developed by Zimbardo and Boyd to solve the shortcomings of previous scales (i.e., low reliability, unstable factor structure, and scoring difficulties), has five dimensions: past-negative, past-positive, pres- ent-fatalistic, present-hedonistic, and future. The ZTPI has good psychometric properties and it has been used to predict different behavioural and personal features for more than a decade (Boniwell et al. …

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